Hastings1066

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Chapter 4: Victory and Hostility


As the Empire celebrated, Alexios withdrew to his books and maps, planning for further expansion. His son Prince Philippos took his place at the numerous banquets, parades and parties held to celebrate the Emperor and his victory over the infidel.



All of Egypt is now restored


Beloved throughout the Empire, Philippos is renowned for his patience, generosity, humility and above all his pious devotion to God.

However, their is another side to Philippos. He is cruel, and gains pleasure from cruel actions. Publicly though, he is the heir of the Empire, perfect and unflawed, a view that will probably change once he becomes Emperor.

Philippos had gained praise from the court for his leadership during his fathers ailing years, taking on many of his fathers public roles, such as presenting titles to Doux Isidoras of Aswan, and the granting of Sinai to Count Gennadios of El-Arish. The courtiers proclaim that he will be an excellent Emperor, and that if the Emperor were to die that day, Philippos could take the reins immediately and without struggle or confusion.



Isidoros of Pithom was made Doux of Aswan


Count Gennadios Caesarea of El-Arish was made the Doux of Sinai



Like his father, Philippos is a humble man, and the courtiers songs of praise did not endear them to him, but rather drove him to despise them like his father. "No matter, they mean no harm. While I do desire to be Emperor, I can wait. I have waited forty-four years of my life for the Imperial Crown; I can wait for however more should come."

Philippos had previously hoped that his father would spend his remaining years consolidating, but his fathers ambition still did not subside. The Council had agreed with him on annexing the county of Apulia, hoping in vain that they might be able to strike a compromise with the Emperor. Alexios had big plans though.

"The Egyptian infidels was one thing; they were weak and distracted. But now father wants to attack the Seljuk's or Cumans. Such a war would require a full mobilisation, and the supply problems would be enormous. And the fleets would have difficulty transporting all the soldiers, and I don't trust the merchant fleets-for-hire and their money-grubbing ways. He even speaks of taking land from the heretical Catholic Patriarch, so as to send a message to Latium and all the Catholic heretics. The Council and I may voice all the concerns we wish, but at the end of the day, father is the Emperor, and can do as he pleases. While I and the Council will always stand by His Imperial Majesty, I doubt the loyalty of the vassals; they will not be happy about the large-scale warfare that father plans."
 
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Hastings1066

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I am hoping for another update either later today or sometime tomorrow.

EDIT: I mentioned in the update about attacking the Papacy; it would not be for Rome, but just for one county in the duchy of Latium. Would this be a good idea? It seems rather immersion-breaking to me, but I don't really want the Papacy to become de-jure. Or would a de-jure Papacy not affect the game that much?
 
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Hastings1066

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Chapter 5, Part 1: Abandoned Plans

Alexios sat in a large armchair in the library of the Palace of Blachernae; the main recidence since his father's time, staring into the fireplace, with a heavy book laid upon his lap. The book was The Alexiad, by his deceased sister Anna.

"Who was this 'Anna Komnenos'? How did she know all this about my father, and me?" Alexios sat there, unable to remember. "Nevermind, the past doesn't matter, only the future does." His thoughts turned to his war plans, dreaming the same dreams he had in his youth; of leading a charge against Turks, dueling a Caliph in battle and earning the praise of his father. The mental picture of his father was blurry, but nevertheless it pleased him.

All he could do at the moment was dream. He had heeded his wife's call to arms against Venice in an embargo war, and his council wanted him to wait before going on the offensive again; to make sure that the Venetians did not threaten any of the Empire's possessions. "We are strong, and Venice is weak; it will not be long before I can go on the conquest again."


Aines the 'Old' calls for her husband, the Emperor


Alexios watched the flames dancing in the fireplace as his vision grew darker, his eyelids fluttering. "Who was Anna? I don't remember any Anna... I don't remember any...any...". The Alexiad dropped from his lap, hitting the floor with a thud. Alexios fell asleep.

He would not wake up.

 

Hastings1066

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Where to next? Is a succession going to happen?

Not yet; it seems the game is enjoying it's slow torture of dear old Alexios. He'll probably die in either one day or twenty years from now. We'll have to wait and see.

Never mind what I said previously; it seems that a succession did just happen. It's as though the game is trying to make me a liar.


Part 2 of Chapter 5 will be up tomorrow.
 

Jarren

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I am hoping for another update either later today or sometime tomorrow.

EDIT: I mentioned in the update about attacking the Papacy; it would not be for Rome, but just for one county in the duchy of Latium. Would this be a good idea? It seems rather immersion-breaking to me, but I don't really want the Papacy to become de-jure. Or would a de-jure Papacy not affect the game that much?

Other than making the pope want his big house back even more, but it won't affect anything else
 

Hastings1066

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Chapter 5, Part 2: Marriage and Dissatisfaction



Philippos sat in his father's seat (he still thought of it as his father's) listening to the arguments between the councilors. He wasn't particulary interested in what they were talking about, but was far more interested in the councilors themselves. "Who among them can I trust? The Spymaster and Court Chaplain definitely, a couple of affable old priests. The Chancellor maybe; he served father well for his entire reign, but he is a Doux in his own right, which makes him suspicious at best. The Marshal is insane and good with weapons; unpredictable but he seems to like me. The Steward? No, not at all. Demetrios hates me with a passion. He wants to be Emperor. He might also not like how I send his daughter Theochariste away to Tripolitania to be educated by my brother; but if he tries anything, I'll make sure he regrets it."

"Now, your Imperial Majesty, we have found for you the perfect bride; her name is Princess Sophie von Eppenstein, she is of 16 years of age, intelligient, and the daughter of Kaiser Ulrich I of Germania. We strongly advise her, your Imperial Majesty, she is one of the most sought after brides in all of Europe."

"Daughter of Ulrich? She must be a Catholic heretic then. I despise heretics." thought the Emperor.

Seeing the look on his Imperial Majesty's face, the Chancellor adds "she is also renowned for her beauty; long, raven black hair and fair skin, your Imperial Majesty."

"Just like Iouliana, my beloved wife." His face showed no emotion, but on the inside, his emotions were ravaging his heart. Iouliana had been a pretty, dark-haired actress, who Philippos had been smiten with on first sight. It had been rumoured that she had aquired some...exotic skills during her acting career, but Philippos knew this to be nothing but slander. "If I knew who started those rumours about her, I would torture them personally, before feeding them to the dungeon-rats. And then those gossips about her death as well, saying that my father had her killed. He didn't approve, and in fact threw us into the street, but he never would have done that, it's impossible."


A posthumous portrait of Iouliana in imperial regalia commissioned by Philippos; Sophia was not pleased


Philippos looked up. He realized that the council had been waiting for some time for a decision as he brooded over his dead wife. "Great, now courtiers will go around whispering about how I'm indecisive. As though I don't have enough worries."

With his wife on his mind and the council impatient for a decision, he consents "Send a proposal." The Chancellor nods his head in compliance with no show of emotion, but on the inside, he is smiling. He had already sent the proposal.


She will have her uses


Basileus Philippos II and Princess Sofie von Eppenstein married on the 16 of November, 1157, and as they paraded from the Hagia Sophia to the Palace the people of Constantinople-and the Empire- rejoiced. Their would be no time for a honeymoon though.


They wasted no time*


Many of the Empire's more ambitious nobles sensed that Philippos was in a less than desirable position; and to further complicate matters, stories had leaked out about Philippos less than perfect character.

The Council went into damage control; burying vassals under bureaucracy, assuaging uneasy lords with titles, and gifts for the others. Even so, it seemed that the Empire would have its first civil war in over seventy years.







Christmas comes early for many Greek nobles



*NOTE: Previously I mentioned that I made Isidoros of Pithom the Doux of Aswan; he died in the first battle of Anatolian-Venetian Embargo War, while his wife was pregnant with their first child. Serapion of Dradate replaced him, and married Isidoros widow, Agathe Rossatas. And now he's plotting independence. Unthankful jerk.

 

mike the knight

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It seems that he is acruel but smart also .....I hope that this man can keep united the Empire and expand it
 

Hastings1066

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Chapter 6: The Occitan Connection



Philippos sat sprawled in an armchair in the library of Blachernae, with his wife beside him reading a book on Orthodoxy (She had recently converted). It had been the first time since his succession that he had any time alone with his wife.

"Finally some peace and quiet; Iouliana...uh... Sophia has converted to the true faith, Apulia is defeated and those scheming vassals have been weakend by the loss of their leader Patriach Ioseph of Alexandria, to a natural death! It's God's will."


Serves him right


"I could just here for eternity, never moving, in complete silence. If only I could lock everyone out, and be all by myself in this palace, and sleep, and read, and lounge around."

Philippos could hear the sound of footsteps running up the corridor.

"Why run? This evening is so calm, and gentle." His eyes fluttered and he began to go to sleep.

The door flew open and a gasping messenger appeared. Philippos jumped out of his chair, startled. His wife did the same, sending her books flying. She had been asleep as well.

"Your Imperial Majesties, I bring grave news..."


Mother dearest is dead


A few days later, Philippos sat on his throne, obviously unhappy. Someone unfamiliar with his family might think it was because he mourned for his mother. That was not the reason. He had not loved his mother, or even liked her in the slightest. She had been greedy, stealing even the most insignificant amounts of money from court children, even her own children. She would send spies to her husbands court, constantly paranoid that he was cheating on her. And she was reclusive; her children and the court rarely saw her. Part of this was because, as she harshly told a young Philippos, that she was the most well-bred person in all of Europe. She was a Queen regnant married to an Emperor, a sister of a King of France, the daughter of another King of France and a Queen of Anatolia. Her grandfather had also been a King, and she was a member of the Capet's. Only someone of equal nobility could enjoy her company she said, and everybody else were just 'pawns' on the chessboard.


the 'Old' was the nicest thing that could be said about her


What Philippos mourned was peace and quiet. With his mothers death, he had not only inherited his mother's crown and her lands in Paphlagonia and Poitou, but also her vassals. Her Occitan vassals. Who had little interest in bowing to some foreigner.

The Occitan vassals in Aquitaine, Philippos did not care about. He allowed them to leave, rather than risk the stability of the realm by keeping them. He did however, keep the Duchy of Poitou which had been held completely by his mother. He could not hold it for himself though; he was already having trouble managing his current holdings. It was given to Phokas of Damietta, who also became the Count of Poitiers and Thouars. Lusignan was given to a Greek and Saintonge to a Orthodox Occitan Bishop.


From a courtier of a merchant to Doux of Poitou


In Anatolia though it was a different matter. Philippos was not willing to part with a de-jure part of the Empire.

The Duchy of Paphlagonia was his other inheritance from his mother. It was handed to Basileios of Pithom, the son of the deceased Doux Isidoros of Aswan, who had died valiantly in battle against Venice. Ancyra was handed to another Occitan Orthodox Bishop from the area.


The House of Pithom isn't dead yet


Their was one other inheritance from his mother; her standing army numbering 2,000 men, composed of 600 Royal Poitou Knights, 400 Anatolian Horsemen, 200 Palace Guards and 800 Royal Archers.

They will come in handy.


They've received their new uniforms
 

mike the knight

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I fera that vassals will turn against you even these who benefited from you ...Keep your eyes widely open....
 

Hastings1066

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You seem to be doing good so far, looking forward to see how your game plays different from mine.

Indeed, it will be interesting.

I fera that vassals will turn against you even these who benefited from you ...Keep your eyes widely open....

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
One must always be on the watch in the turbulent arena of Byzantine politics...

How odd to inherit such distant realms isn't it?

It is rather odd, and in fact I didn't thing Philippos was going to inherit the titles; since I seem to remember Aines increasing her crown authority to high at one point. But as they say, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth".

Of course they also say "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Luckily these were Occitan. :laugh:
 

Hastings1066

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Chapter 7: Baptism of Fire



The newly inherited retinues of Anatolia, along with newly raised legions, would not see their first combat in the service of the Emperor against rebels as many had thought, but against the old enemies along the eastern border.


King Davit V of Georgia found himself in a dangerous position. His capitol in the county of Tao was seperated from the rest of his Kingdom by the Empire and the Uqaylids were on the lookout for ways to expand their power. He had previously been able to protect his Kingdom from threats with his marriage to Princess Theodora, the youngest child and daughter of Alexios I, and the youngest sister of Alexios II. With the death of Alexios II however, he found himself without any real allies; as though his wife Theodora was the Aunt of Philippos, Byzantine customs did not demand Philippos to offer any help, and in some cases, forbid it. With this in mind, Davit took to drinking and became known as 'the Drunkard' by many.


In 1158 King Davit found his Kingdom's existence threatened. The Uqaylid Emirate had declared a holy war against the Georgians, bringing nearly 20,000 soldiers to the fight. Georgia could only raise 2,000.


He did not however believe that doom was upon him. Most of what remained of Georgia was hidden behind the Empire, unaccesible to the Uqaylids. However Davit still found himself facing the possiblilty of losing his capitol of Tao, which would leave him with only one county left for himself, and the other for a disgruntled vassal.


He had men in Constantinople though, and they sent word about the new Emperor. That he was a zealous defender of the faith who despisced heretics and heathrens. With this in mind, Davit send a plea to Philippos, begging for help, not on account of being his Uncle by marriage, but that he was a zealous defender of Orthodoxy like Philippos (word of Davit's drunkeness, sin, and all around poor behavior unbefitting of a crowned monarch had not reached the Emperors ears).


As was expected, Philippos answered Davit's call, seeing a way to prove himself to the people and more importantly, the nobility. The Council saw a oppurtunity to test the new soldiers in actual battle. The nobles who had not yet picked a side in the conflict over crown authority, independance and even who the rightful Emperor was, saw a way to test Philippos in a baptism of fire.

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Davit has a good reason to be glad


Unlike his father, Philippos had no desire for military glory. He desired the growth of the Empire yes, but his main goal was peace, to be achieved by the destruction of anyone who refused to follow the Orthodox Church and it's teachings.


In line with his principles, Philippos left most of the planning to his generals. This relieved them, who feared that he might want to lead the army himself like his father had.

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Instead, Philippos received periodic reports from the appointed generals


One of these generals was the famed Gennadios Caesarea, the Doux of Sinai and the leader of those who sought to increase the power of the Douxs at the expense of the Emperor. He had been entirely loyal to Alexios, so it came as a surprise to many when he spoke in favour of decreasing the Emperors authority.

Warfare had taken its toll on Gennadios however, and on 14 December 1159 he died, at 59 years old.

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He was a great general, and had a great name


While initially relieved by the death of Gennadios, Philippos found out that Gennadios son and successor disagreed with him on more than one issue...

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Heretics?! In my Sinai?!
 
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